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Horse Articles :: Horse Grooming Tips

Horse Grooming Tips

One of the nicest ways to bond with your horse is to spend time grooming him. While sometimes it is ok to just give your horse a quick dust-off before you ride, every so often you should spend some extra time with him just getting to know him as you groom.

So what is involved in grooming anyway? Most people think of it as merely running a brush over the horse, picking its feet and leaving it at that. But there is a lot more to good grooming.

The first step in a thorough grooming is to curry your horse. Take a curry comb, either a plastic one or a rubber one, and use in circular motion that work with the horse's coat. Currying acts as a massage, easing tense muscles and increasing circulation to the skin. Every grooming session should start with at least a brief curry.

You can use the curry comb over any part of the horse's body that is muscled. That means the entire neck, body and down the legs to the knees/hocks. Don't be afraid to apply a bit of pressure as you groom the horse will enjoy this as it gives the muscles an invigorating massage.

After the curry comb use a hard bristled brush. The brush should have some give to the bristles. Some hard brushes are too hard and are not likely to be comfortable to the horse. The hard brush should be used in short strokes in the direction of the hair. If you give the brush a little flick at the end of each stroke it will pull the dust and dirt off the coat. The hard brush will lay the horse's coat smooth and flat.

Because of the firmness of the bristles a hard brush should not be used on the horse's face. It can be used everywhere else on the horse's body including the legs. A hard brush is great for getting off caked on mud from the lower legs.

Finally it is time to take a soft brush and dust your horse down. The soft brush has long, soft bristles that give easily and are great for flicking off the remaining dust and dirt. Use long brushstrokes with the hair growth.

The soft brush can be used everywhere on your horse, including the face. It is a great way to add a finishing touch to the coat and bring out the shine. Most horses love the soft brush and have no problem even in sensitive areas.

After caring for the horse's body it is time to care for its feet. There are two basic kinds of hoofpicks. Basic hoofpicks are made of metal with a pick on one end and a loop to hold on to on the other end. These are simple, efficient tools that cost very little and do a good job. The other type is plastic with a metal pick that sticks out the end and a small stiff-bristled brush opposite the pick. A bit more expensive, this kind of hoofpick has the added benefit of being able to brush out debris that the pick cannot reach and make a cleaner hoof overall. Another benefit is the molded handle that can be more comfortable to hold. Both types of picks are equally good and it is a matter of personal preference which type you decide to use.

When picking out the feet, be careful to remove all debris from the grooves beside the frog. Any stones that are lodged in there could bruise the horse's foot and cause lameness. If the horse wears shoes do not try to wedge the hoofpick between the shoes and the horse's foot as that can loosen the fit and increase the chance that your horse will loose a shoe.

The final touch of a good grooming job is to comb out the mane and tail. While some prefer not to use a comb or brush on the tail if it is well cared for on a regular basis you will actually loose less hair in the long run. If you are not planning to braid the hair you can use a product such as Show Sheen to detangle the hairs and make combing out easier.

It is truly a matter of personal preference when it comes to combs and brushes for manes and tails. You can buy special brushes at the tack shop, make a tail brush out of an old push broom or use a brush you've purchased at the local pharmacy. With combs it is important to have one with reasonably wide spacing between the teeth. The comb should be made of smooth metal or a resilient plastic which is not brittle or overly flexible. Plastic combs will lose tines over time and should be replaced when there are too many gaps to make them useful. Metal combs often hold up far better.

As you groom make sure that you give your horse lots of extra attention. A truly thorough grooming job can take up to an hour. Take your time and enjoy your horse. He will love you for the extra TLC and your bond will become that much closer.

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Lydia V Kelly is a writer for, popular classifieds









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